When your children have filled your life, the realization that they’ll soon be gone or are gone, can leave you sad and leave you with feelings you are not sure how to cope with. Let’s take a look at home to deal with empty nest syndrome:
First of all it is good to recognize that empty nest syndrome affects women more than men, especially women who have spent much of their time at home, or are stay at home moms. The reason for this is that many of them have been identified for as long as they can remember as “so and so’s Mom” or “so and so’s wife.” This means that when their children leave home, they are no longer sure of their identity. So the first thing you need to do to cope is to create yourself an identity outside your life as a homemaker. If you can do this before your children leave it will make the adjustment easier. But, if you don’t, do not despair, you can still do this. You have to start by choosing something that interests you. Have you always wanted to do something with photography? Well, why not now? Instead of saying, “I am Jimmy’s mom” you can say, “I’m a photographer.” You can move from that to, “I am (insert your name).” It is a gradual process, but it will prove to be an enjoyable one.
Second, you have to look at the good things about being an empty nester. Of course there are things to morn. You have spent most of your life devoted to your children there is a real loss when they leave. However, after a time of mourning, there should be a time to celebrate. You now have the ability to pick and leave when you want. So do it, travel some. You now can go to bed and not have to get up to make sure someone has made curfew. You can spend your afternoons with a book club rather than washing dirty soccer uniforms and grocery shopping for a picky eater.
There are a lot of things that you can do once your children leave the house that you could not do before because of your familial responsibilities, so relish those, enjoy them! It is okay to have mixed feelings about your child leaving. It is okay to be excited about developing your own interests, and at the same time be sad to see your children leave home. But, recognizing those feelings and dwelling on them are two different things.
Third, Get involved in your own life and in the life of your spouse. One of the best ways to cope with an empty nest is to focus your time and attention elsewhere, especially when that elsewhere is your spouse. It is time to go ahead and take that art classes, try your hand at writing, or actually take the time to sit down and read a book a week. It’s life that when you are raising your children the time you spend alone as a couple is limited. So, once they leave the house, remind yourself of why you chose this person as a mate, why you lay down to bed with them each night, and why you love talking to them and laughing with them about things other than your children.
The fact is that while your children may no longer live at home, your nest is not truly empty. Chances are you will get phone calls, requests for help, money, groceries, the return on weekends to do laundry, or at least the holiday visits and get togethers. You may even find that you enjoy the time with your children so much more because it is not as often, and that they enjoy it with you as well. Sometimes it takes distance to appreciate what you have, and you will love seeing your children truly appreciate you.